Wedding season is always an exciting time for me, why? Well because as you know I am obsessed with clothes. I have a gauntlet of cool stuff just waiting for an occasion. When I found out some of my closest European friends were having a summer wedding in the Cinque Terre, I knew exactly what I was going to wear. The accessories, however, were a challenge and I almost gave up. I do not always want to wear my own handmade jewelry, but struggle at times with Italian artisanal jewelry aesthetic. Just last week, my accessories (above) found me and it is more than worth sharing.I was looking for something to bring some edge and earth to a very elegant dress I have been wanting to wear again. Obviously this dress had never been observed by my Italian gang. Repeat outfits are a big no-no for Italian dress-up affairs. My Italian girlfriend even assured me that every once in a while I could look elegant, she knew I wouldn’t go for it! I tried chunky and turquoise, thin and gold, nothing worked. Then on my way to Riomaggiore’s Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montenero (upcoming article) I was sucked into this charming underground boutique called L’albero d’arte.
As soon as I got past a crowd of rooted tourists I saw the crystals out of the corner of my eye. I was a big rock collector as a little girl and have been getting back into them in these past years; rocks, stones and crystals. I love the nostalgic elements of my elementary years, the powers and stories behind the stones and their modern aesthetic. Here, Stefano entertained my every question. I mentioned I had a blog to reinforce his patience, but he did not need it. He was a calm, happy and an engaged Ligurian shopkeeper, a rare breed. Stefano told me he was from Chiavari (another beloved Modern Thrifter stomping ground) He opened this boutique with his wife just last year and he said it was born from her passion and knowledge of stones. Most of the jewelry work was done right in the space you see. More invasive work was done at home by his wife.
Some metals can be personalized on the spot for you and Stefano is often found working outside. There are a lot of zodiac related symbols and other significant scribbles that are already available. I fell in love with the stones. Every stone was different as was every setting. Hammered out with a heavy hand made aesthetic but modern shapes and tones, and of course with special powers radiating from every stones. Trust me, a 30 year-old living in Italy needs all the special powers they can get!
After picking Stefano’s brain and happily commiserating about artisan-life, passion and Italy he explained the stone I picked was clear crystal that due to its transparency emits light and encourages balance and brings out ones character. This paired with a rad upper arm band and I was set! And as in every great Italian purchase they were packaged up with the most creative care and I was on my way.
For further info you may contact the artists Stefano and Raffaella Dal Barco their Facebook page is LAlberodarte or stop by their charming shop in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre!